‘The thing for us’ - Newcastle United have already given Cristiano Ronaldo transfer verdict

Could the former Real Madrid star become the latest additions to an ever-improving Magpies squad?

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Newcastle United have reportedly been targeted as a possible destination for Cristiano Ronaldo as doubts remain over his future at Manchester United.

The Portuguese superstar has been at the heart of intense speculation in recent weeks after he was left out of the Red Devils squad for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea after refusing to come off the bench in their home win against Tottenham Hotspur just days earlier. Erik ten Hag’s side will return to Europa League action on Thursday night when Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol visit Old Trafford and the former Ajax manager has confirmed Ronaldo will return to contention.

Speaking on Wednesday, he said: “Yes, Cristiano will be in the squad on Thursday. I think we said everything and answered all the questions. He was out for one game and now he is back in the squad as usual. It's done. He's back. Let's focus on the game.”

Whether Ronaldo features or not remains to be seen but there has been further speculation he will bring an end to his second spell at the 13-time Premier League champions in the near future. A recent report suggested Newcastle, Arsenal and Sporting Lisbon could be his next port of call - but Magpies manager Eddie Howe has already denied that the former Real Madrid star will be making his way to St James Park.

Speaking recently, he said: “He’s an outstanding player. If you look at his goal record last year, it was incredible. For me, the transfer has worked, it’s been a success. He scored some massive goals last year, and some really late important goals in the Champions League. He’s still an outstanding player and should never be underestimated.”

“The thing for us is we’re trying to provide long-term growth, we’ve got a longer-term vision. For us, at the moment, we have quite an ageing squad so we need to invest in more youth and young players. It’s a big part of our progression, we need to get the average age down. It might not be a signing we’d necessarily look to make but not underestimating the player”